Three Steals in the NBA Draft

This draft was deep. Real deep. There was legitimate first round value available in the second round this year. That doesn’t happen very often. Last year, first round value was hard to come by anywhere. But this draft was unusual. Teams weren’t as stupid as usual! We didn’t have any Charlie Villanueva or Dion Waiters-like unexpected picks, or Anthony Bennett for that matter. The lottery went, for the most part, as most people predicted. There were some minor hiccups. Noah Vonleh slid a little bit. Aaron Gordon went a tad higher than people expected. Maybe, some people thought Embiid would slide a few picks further. But other than that, things were pretty rational, and that’s saying a lot for NBA GMs! Toward the second half of the first round though, things got a little frisky, as always. Some obscure Brazilian guy no one had ever heard of was chosen 20th! No really, like no one even knew who he was. He didn’t even show up on a single one of Chad Ford’s ten mock drafts, or however many he ended up doing. And the Hornets inexplicably appeased LeBron’s demand that the Heat get Shabazz Napier. The Hornets drafted Napier, and before the entire basketball universe could rejoice over the future 30 for 30 documenting Napier and Kemba Walker reuniting in the pros, Napier was informed he’d been dealt to the Heat. But aside from some of those crazy story lines, there were a couple of very good players that slipped unnecessarily far in the draft. Continue reading

Is Carmelo worth a max contract?

Of course he is, right? What a silly question. Or is it? Carmelo is one of the most prolific scorers in the league and has been for the past decade. At 30 years old, Carmelo is at a crossroads for his career. He has reached the Conference Finals once in his career, but never further. If not for his title run at Syracuse, it’d be worth pondering whether Carmelo is a winner or not. This is not a Skip Bayless exercise in superstar trolling, but given the fact that Carmelo is often his team’s highest-paid player, and gets to take upward of 20 shots per game, his team’s failures will fall on his shoulders. He maneuvered his way to the big city in hopes of rejuvenating the Knicks in the post-Isiah Thomas era and bringing a title to New York City. As ESPN’s Beckley Mason points out, aside from last year’s 54 win season, ending in a second round loss to the Pacers, the Knicks have remained a laughingstock in the lousy Eastern Conference. At what point do we begin to question Carmelo and his worth? He had his career year two seasons ago, when he led the team to 54 wins, but that was also the year J.R. Smith won sixth man of the year. Continue reading

Favorites to win it all next year

It’s never too early to take a look at next year. We don’t know what jersey the best player in the league will be wearing, where the biggest chucker will be ball-hogging, or what will happen in the most over-hyped draft ever, but we can still make some safe predictions, if we make a few assumptions that we shouldn’t. Let’s assume the Big 3 stay in Miami, Duncan and Co. play another season, Carmelo ends up in Chicago, and Cleveland remains the most cursed sports town ever (we can make that last assumption VERY safely). Let’s run down the title favorites.

Poorly Owned, Delusional Expectations

Knicks
Not in 100 years. Continue reading

Born Ready: What teams could handle Lance Stephenson?

You either love Lance or you hate him. How you feel about Lance Stephenson inevitably acts like some sort of NBA Rorschach test, giving valuable insight to your personality and how you view the game of basketball. He can fly down the court by himself and finish like LeBron. But then he’ll sprint down court on one-on-three breaks and turn it over. He’ll throw no-look passes like Magic. And then he’ll throw a no-look pass into the fourth row. He’ll go off for 30 points. He’ll kill ball movement and be a ball hog. Lance Stephenson is one of the hardest players to understand. His talent is undeniable. His craziness is also undeniable. He’s one of the most unpredictable players and personalities in the league. He went from perhaps the most hyped up New York city high school prospect ever, to an underwhelming afterthought at Cincinnati, to a second round draft pick, to a benchwarmer in his first few seasons, to the first runner-up for NBA’s Most Improved Player this past season. Continue reading

First Round Playoff Predictions

With the playoffs finally upon us, it’s time to make some predictions. In the East, it seems inevitable that the Heat will come out and get a chance to repeat, but the West isn’t as obvious. Injuries this year have decimated many teams’ chances in both conferences. This might be the year that handed the title to the Heat. In the West, Kobe’s season-ending (and career? just kidding, Kobe) injury has been a hot topic, Manu has been hurt, Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL, and David Lee just injured his hip and is out for the playoffs. In the East, most notably Derrick Rose hasn’t played all season, Danny Granger is out for the playoffs, Rondo tore his ACL, and Amare Stoudemire hasn’t been 100% all year. Injuries happen every year, but this year is worse–key starters and go-to-guys are missing from this year’s playoffs.

In the East…

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